April 12, 2021

Patrick McCarthy joins Thornburg Foundation as Water Policy Officer

SANTA FE, NM — Today, the Thornburg Foundation announced Patrick McCarthy will lead the Foundation’s new strategic initiative focused on water policy and management.

New Mexico has seen growing stresses on water security due to ongoing drought, outmoded infrastructure and policies, and longstanding inequities in access to clean and abundant water. Federal, state and tribal leaders, philanthropy, and the non-profit sector  share a deep concern for the state’s water future.  To address the threat of water scarcity to families and farmers across the state, the Thornburg Foundation added a fourth initiative focused on water. 

“Our new Water Initiative will be in great hands with Patrick”, said Allan Oliver, Executive Director of Thornburg Foundation. “His extensive on-the-ground experience designing and implementing numerous collaborative water management efforts and his long-term partnerships with stakeholders and communities will be critical to our strategy of supporting smart collaborative policy.” 

In this role, Patrick will focus on the advancement of policy reforms, planning efforts, research, and other work to modernize and transform water management in New Mexico, including supporting native-led efforts to address Tribal and Pueblo water needs across the state.

“I am inspired to be working on this Water Initiative”, stated Patrick McCarthy, the Foundation’s Water Policy Officer. “I’ve worked for the past 25 years on water management across the Southwest, and I’m proud to bring that experience to bear on policy reform in New Mexico.”

In the near term, Patrick will lead the development and establishment of the Foundation’s strategic plan for the Water Initiative. He will then be responsible for developing and managing a multi-year grantmaking portfolio consistent with the strategic plan.

“Patrick has been a valuable thought partner for our work on water resilience,” said Daryl Vigil, Jicarilla Apache Nation water administrator and co-director of the Colorado River Basin Water & Tribes Initiative. “New Mexico’s communities have already benefited from his work, and I’m excited that he’ll be leading this new water policy initiative.”

The Foundation makes $1m in grants each year into each of its four strategic initiative areas of good government, early childhood education, food and agriculture and water.


Thornburg Foundation is a family foundation that makes grants in the areas of good government reform, early childhood education, agriculture reform and community funding.  We work to catalyze high impact outcomes using evidence to understand and solve systemic problems, engage stakeholders to drive policy reform, and create meaningful and lasting change in New Mexico. Thornburg Foundation was founded in 1999 and is headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

To view the biographies of the Thornburg Foundation team, visit